CEO update – Parent Participation

We have been busy over the last few months securing funding which will allow us to continue delivering vital support to families affected by exploitation. The successful applications have meant we have been able to expand some of our existing services.

We have successfully appointed an additional parent support worker on the national parent support team who comes with a wealth of experience in advocacy, and criminal justice support. We have also extended the support that the national team offer to now include support to families affected by criminal as well as sexual exploitation.

With support from funder Simmonds and Simmonds, we are able to expand our volunteer support for parents and focus on creating community champions. The community champions will provide information, awareness-raising and signposting to families in their communities, once the champion has completed training with Pace. Community champions are key to Pace’s early awareness-raising objectives. By raising awareness early on about the signs and indicators of child exploitation, where to get information and support and most importantly challenging victim-blaming and the myths surrounding child exploitation, we create a family-friendly community response that supports the safeguarding of all children within our communities. Along with the plan of volunteer training of community champions, we have also been delivering parent webinars across the country in order to further progress our aim of raising early awareness among non-affected as well as concerned parents. So far, we have had over 2,500 parents sign up for the evening free webinars.

We also will be recruiting 2 new parent liaison officers for Lancashire later in the year, thanks to additional funding being secured.

Pace has been asked to support the development of new national resources for parents, most recently writing a debt bondage guide for parents in partnership with National County Lines Coordination Centre, we have had a number of affected parents volunteer to be part of a small group reviewing the resource and we welcome any others who would like to contribute. Please contact Nancy Pike if you would like to join as a reviewer.

Training at Pace continues to be a tool to improve, support and develop practitioners’ responses when working with families affected by child exploitation. We have had excellent feedback from practitioners on how the training has enhanced their understanding of the impact extra-familial harm has on children as well as their families and how a relational approach provides better holistic support to the family whilst targeting the spaces and people that harm or are used to facilitate the harm against children. We are really pleased to say all the training either has a parent facilitator or has a resource such as videos created by affected parents to really enhance professionals’ understanding from a lived experience.

Pace reached its 25th-anniversary last year, however, due to Covid, celebrations and activities were delayed. I have recently raised funds in recognition of the milestone, by walking 25 miles, which happened to land on the hottest day of the year so far. We also have our head of Comms, Lou McCallion and her husband planning to also walk to raise funds for Pace, however, they are walking continuously for 25 hours. Lots of sore feet at the Pace head offices this month! Raising funds for the charity supports our key core funding that allows all the important work in supporting parents across England and Wales to continue. A special thanks to all those who have donated or sent kind messages of support.